We’re all familiar with elevator music. It’s the generic, jazzy tune you usually hear at hospitals, shopping malls, banks or virtually anywhere you ride an elevator. You might have also heard these looped songs while on hold with a phone or cable company.
If you’re considering piping elevator music into a new or upgraded elevator, take note of these dos and don’ts.
What Kind of Music Plays in Elevators?
First off, what is elevator music? The official brand is called Muzak. In 1922, Muzak was created to calm anxious passengers using an elevator for the first time. Today, elevator music use is widespread and an estimated 100 million people hear Muzak every day. Elevator tunes encompass a diverse range of genres: jazz, blues, bossa nova, ambient, lounge and easy listening, just to name a few.
The Dos: Best Elevator Tunes
The right music can help passengers focus, relax and take a moment to settle before arriving at their destination. Follow these tips for choosing your elevator music songs:
- Do consider the elevator’s location. Offices, hospitals and shopping malls call for light instrumental or smooth jazz. Many view saxophonist Kenny G’s songs as quintessential elevator music. At a tropical resort, you may opt for more festive, upbeat artists like Bob Marley to get passengers excited about their vacation. In a spa, new age music would be appropriate.
- Do have a goal. How do you want passengers to feel? Calm and relaxed? Focused and ready to work? Energized? Understanding your intention will help you pick elevator songs with the right tone.
- Do keep the music nonintrusive. Most elevator music is instrumental and even-keeled, without any jarring sounds or verses. This way, passengers can converse without interruption.
- Do lean towards soft jazz and easy listening. If you’re unsure of the elevator’s clientele, default to gentle instrumental music. For inspiration, start with songs like “Songbird” by Kenny G, “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck and “Theme From a Summer Place” by Percy Faith.
The Don’ts: What to Avoid When Choosing Elevator Music
To give passengers a comfortable experience, remember these rules for elevator tunes:
- Don’t turn up the volume. Even easy listening music becomes off-putting if it’s too loud. Make sure to test the volume and err on the side of too quiet.
- Don’t violate copyright rules. Use songs that people will recognize, but do your research to avoid copyright infringement problems.
- Don’t offend passengers. During the holiday season, play generic tunes without religious themes.
- Don’t play commercials or talk radio. Talking voices distract from an elevator’s relaxing vibe.
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